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Capt. Kells: Turn and face the strange

Tony, aka VAiru

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// Captain's Personal Log, SD 239206.19 //

Of course I didn't see it coming. Who would have? Who would have ever thought that he would have by the Architecting President? No one, that's who. Which is why, of course, I thought it was okay to let my mind wander in the first place.
(( Main Reception Hall, USS Invicta ))
Egan Manno: Kells!
:: Egan Manno's voice was a whisper, albeit it a pointed one. Her elbow, on the other hand, was not so soft. He was surprised, a moment later, that she'd risked it; some of the cameras were already on them, and they would've caught not only that motion but also his way he jerked out of his reverie. ::
Kells: Hrmph?
Egan Manno: Stand. Up.
:: She was smiling. Everyone was. And clapping? Yes, all of them were applauding, and the president was -- Architect, was she looking at him? What off Earth was she doing that for? ::
Kells: What? Why?
Egan Manno: Just do it!
:: So he stood. Not knowing why, but he figured, if the president was looking, well, the worst he could do was make a fool of himself -- and with Egan Manno's elbow, he'd already done that. Then she began to speak... ::
// Captain's Personal Log, SD 239206.19 //
No one would've seen it coming because it's ludicrous. One's orders come from one's CO -- in my case, Egan Manno -- or, at the very outside, the CO a grade or two above one's. Not from the president. The Starfleet isn't a military organization and she's not Commander-in-Chief of the Federation Starfleet -- but damned if that stopped her here.
At first I didn't know what to think. I mean, it was the rhetoric I dreaded, all about bravery on the frontier and pushing the limits of exploration and the steady hands of diplomacy -- sound bites, little nothings that had zero to do with the Va Wreth mission and the capture of Ross, which is what I finally gathered she was talking about. But why me? I hadn't really done anything special, and most of my senior staff hadn't even been allowed in. By the Architect, Rahman wasn't even there, and her teams had been entirely responsible for finding Ross.
But then she came to it, finally. Not only was I and my crew all that she'd said, we were the very best of the Starfleet and of its mission here, including the great experiment that was Astrofori One. The Invicta, she said, and I swear she was looking right at me when she said it, is exactly the sort of vessel Starfleet wants to have at this crucial juncture in the Menthar Corridor. And she, damn it all, couldn't think of any captain and crew she would rather have aboard.
(( Main Reception Hall, USS Invicta ))
:: Push up, pull down: Aron was so lost in a moment he hadn't believed had actually happened that Egan Manno, as surreptitiously as possible, had to tug on a pleat in the back of his uniform jacket. He was already clapping, had been as he stood there and continued to as he sat down rather abruptly. The applause continued, though the bright eyes of the cameras returned to the president as she continued to speak. Aron bent over to whisper in Egan Manno's ear. ::
Kells: Can she do that?
Egan Manno: I'm not going to argue with her. Are you?
Kells: But-- really, can she do that? Does she have the authority?
Egan Manno: Of course not. But she's expressed her desire to see the Garuda's successful crew, including its captain, transfer to the Invicta. I, and the other officers who actually make such things happen, will put through all the orders. It's a semantics question, Captain, and easily resolved. ::beat:: Congratulations.
:: She actually seemed to mean it, too, despite being caught just as off-guard as he'd been. Well, and he supposed that there was nothing else for it: He couldn't exactly protest now. Wouldn't that be something, though? To stop the State of the Federation address as it was being given and insist that he wouldnt' take the spot? It would be pointless grandstanding, of course, more of the rhetoric he hated -- but something about it definitely appealed to him. ::
// Captain's Personal Log, SD 239206.19 //
Not that I was ever actually going to do it, of course. The president's promise was one thing, but Egan Manno's assent? Well, that was a done deal. She'd made it quite clear when she appointed me as the Garuda's CO what my options were (namely, take command or -- nope, there is no 'or'), so I didn't have much hope here. Nor did I have a good reason for not wanting to do as the president said, beyond that initial shock -- though once I started to think about it a little more, I realized that all my previous years of CO experience were vastly different from this. I'd operated alone, as the CO of the single Starfleet starship for dozens and dozens of light-years, in uncharted, often hostile space. And now they wanted me to play politician? It seemed bizarre, but -- as I say, I wasn't going to argue.
(( Bridge, USS Invicta ))
:: It certainly wasn't a bridge as he was used to it. The ships he'd seen rolling out of Utopia Planitia had increasingly dark, crowded bridges. True, there were some, like the Intrepid class, which were fairly large -- but always so dark. The Invicta's wasn't anything like that. Huge and bright, it built upon familiar aspects of the Garuda's basic model -- the tactical horseshoe, the array of consoles at the bridge's rear -- but included an entire conference room right in the middle of the bridge, as well as increased automation -- only two stations at the bridge's front, for ops and science -- and a lot of space devoted to seating areas, presumably for the use of discussion and use of foreign dignitaries and notables. The Invicta, after all, was a ship dedicated to diplomacy and science.
And was, for the moment, a few hours after the State of the Federation address, mostly empty. In fact, with the exit of a pair of technicians a few moments ago, Aron was alone. He wouldn't remain that way for long, though, and he didn't turn when he heard the turbolift doors open. Nor did he sit down at the conference table; rather, he stood at the front of the bridge, gazing at the huge viewscreen. ::
Kells: Roshanara. I've been waiting.
Rahman: My apologies, captain.
Kells: No, no hurry. I imagine you've heard, then.
Rahman: Part of the delay was there seemed to be a bit of a mix up. I was told initially I'd be remaining on the Garuda to accompany her back towards the Federation.
Kells: I know. Believe me, your lack of invitation was not my intent, and had I realized it earlier, I would've said something. However--
:: He hesitated. He wasn't sure if he wanted to tell her this, but -- despite the smashing success the president seemed to believe their prior mission had been -- it felt wrong to add to their growing CO/XO relationship with a lie. ::
Kells: It was done intentionally. I understand that ::beat:: you were not the first choice to accompany the Invicta as its executive officer.
:: And he disliked the president's rhetoric? ::
Rahman: I see…
Kells: Starfleet Command thought it might be prudent to assign another officer. I disagreed, and Egan Manno backed me up. You're still here, you're my XO, and I told them that was the last I wanted to hear about it. ::beat:: Now, then, we have to begin transitioning everything over. I'll trust you to coordinate shakedown and shore leave schedules, alright?
Rahman: Understood, sir.
Kells: Very good. ::beat, badge tap:: =/\= This is Captain Kells to all Garuda crew. Effective immediately, the senior staff has been reassigned to the USS Invicta, along with many junior officers and enlisted personnel. Please see your department heads for details, and if you have been reassigned, report over no later than 1800 this evening to prepare for a short shakedown cruise. That is all. =/\=
Rahman: If there's anything else, Captain?
Captain Aron Kells
Commanding Officer
USS Invicta
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